Strengthening youth in Kyrgyzstan
03 September 2004
Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan: Kyrgyzstani youth are the focus of a new project launched today in the country’s capital aimed at increasing their participation in activities to improve their social conditions within the country.
Funded by the Japanese Government and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Kyrgyzstan, the two-year UNV Youth Volunteerism Project will be carried out in all seven of the country’s provinces, reaching an estimated 1,400 youth participants.
Magnus Bjork, UNV’s Programme Officer in Kyrgyzstan, says the aim of the UNV Youth Project is to channel youth energy and enthusiasm into promoting volunteerism for both personal and social development. “This project looks at the country through a youth perspective,” he says. “By working with youth, we will provide them with the tools to address health issues, make themselves more competent in the job market, and, in the long-term, secure good jobs so they can avoid poverty.”
The project will work with established youth organizations and groups to increase youth involvement through volunteer initiatives in healthy living campaigns, sport and culture activities, income generation projects through tourism, and trainings on local level project management and ICT for development.
Through these activities, links will be made to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) with specific emphasis on contributing to Goal 8 – fostering international exchange between youth organizations within Kyrgyzstan and neighbouring countries. Activities will also coincide with the Kyrgyzstani Government’s own efforts on poverty alleviation, HIV/Aids awareness and environmental sustainability.
A team of six UN Volunteers are assigned to oversee the project and will work with partnering youth groups, local non-governmental organizations and other UN agencies. UNICEF, the UN Population Fund, and the World Health Organization are also involved to provide expertise and competences in such areas as sexual health education.
Also officially opened today was the UNV Volunteer Information Centre, which now houses the UNV Youth Project team. The Centre will act as a hub for information relating to volunteerism and youth, and provide a central meeting place for volunteers and people interested in volunteer and development issues.
In attendance at the UNV Youth Project launch and official opening of the Volunteer Information Centre were Shusuke Watanabe, Charge d’Affaires with the Japanese Embassy in Kyrgyzstan, Jerzy Skuratowicz, UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative for Kyrgyzstan, and Junko Sazaki, Chief of Asia Unit at UNV’s headquarters in Germany.